One Less – Outdoor Water Conservation
In last week’s blog, I discussed some key water usage statistics, as well as ways to save water in the home. This week, I cover outdoor water use — even more critical considering our outdoor use, on average, matches or even exceeds what we use indoors.
Ways to conserve water outdoors:
- Use 2 to 4 inches of organic mulch around plants to reduce evaporation and save hundreds of gallons of water a year. Maintaining a compost pile and spreading it around plants or letting leaf litter accumulate on the soil does the same trick.
- Taller grass shades roots and holds soil moisture better than short grass, so adjust your lawn mower to the height of 1.5 to 2 inches. Leave lawn clippings on your grass, this cools the ground and holds in moisture.
- Water your lawn only when the blades do not spring back up from your footsteps. Let your lawn go dormant (brown) in the winter. Dormant grass only needs watering once a month, less if it rains.
- Fertilizer use increases water consumption dramatically. Apply the minimal amount needed – anyway, you really don’t need to be putting a lot of toxic chemicals into the ground, where they eventually find their way into the groundwater.
- Don’t water your lawn on windy days when most of the water blows away or evaporates. Minimize evaporation by watering during the early morning hours when temperatures are cooler and winds are lighter. Use sprinklers that deliver big drops of water close to the ground. Smaller drops and mist often evaporate before hitting the ground.
- When you do water, water your plants and grass deeply but less frequently to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance.
- Remember to periodically check your sprinkler system valves for leaks, and to keep sprinkler heads in good shape.
- Use a pool cover to help keep your pool clean, reduce chemical use and prevent water loss through evaporation.
- Use a commercial car wash that recycles water. Or, wash your car on the lawn, and you’ll water your grass at the same time. Use a hose nozzle or turn off the water while you wash your car. You’ll save up to 100 gallons every time.
- Wash your pets outdoors, in an area of your lawn that needs water.
While water may seem abundant and cheap, we owe it to our future as a society to practice and maintain responsible use of resources.
National Recycling Week
Happy National Recycling Week! Recycling is easy and can make a big impact on our environment.
Did you know?
- Over 75% of waste is recyclable, but we only recycle about 30% of it.
- The average person generates over 4 pounds of trash every day and about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year.
- Americans make more than 200 million tons of garbage each year, enough to fill Busch Stadium from top to bottom twice a day.
Go to National Recycling Week for more information.
That’s it for now! Next week, I will address energy conservation.
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